Family of Boy Speaks Out After Conviction in Child Abuse Death - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Family of Boy Speaks Out After Conviction in Child Abuse Death

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Peter Draper Peter Draper
Joseph Rinehart Jr. Joseph Rinehart Jr.

After a five–day trial, a Naponee grandfather has been convicted for the child abuse death of his toddler grandson.

Peter Draper, 47, was found guilty Friday in Adams County District Court of one count of intentional child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury and one count of intentional child abuse resulting in the 2012 death of 2–year–old Joseph Rinehart Jr.

Joseph Jr. Died of blunt force trauma to the head, abdomen and extremities after enduring months of abuse from Draper.

The jury took only 40 minutes of deliberation to reach a verdict.

The boy's paternal grandmother spoke out after the verdict came down Friday afternoon, saying justice has finally been served.

"They did it, Junior. He's gone," Heidi Rinehart said. "Everybody's happy now. So he can be happy, too. He can rest in peace."

Franklin County Attorney Patrick Duncan said he wants to see Draper spend the rest of his life behind bars.

"You saw the injuries to this little child, you saw this man's lack of remorse, you saw this man trying to lay blame on other people for certain things," he said. "This man took the future away from a 2–year–old boy. Perhaps his future should be taken away."

Draper will be sentenced in August. He could be given life in prison.

His wife, Nancy Draper, will be sentenced next month and their daughter, Laura Rinehart – who is the boy's mother – will not go to trial. She will instead appear in court at an unknown date and make a plea as part of a deal with prosecutors.

In exchange for her testimony against her parents, Rinehart's charges were reduced from intentional child abuse resulting in death to attempted child abuse. 

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